JEONGEUP, South Korea, May 19 (UPI) -- A South Korean teacher is facing child abuse charges for allegedly eating a live hamster in front of his students to teach them "how dear life is," police said.
Police said the 44-year-old teacher, identified by the surname Yu, allegedly chewed a live hamster and swallowed it May 11 at the boarding school in Jeongeup while seven children were present.
Yu, who also allegedly used abusive language in front of the students, allegedly told police he had caught students abusing hamsters and wanted to teach them "how dear life is" by making them watch him eat one of the rodents.
Police said Yu left the facility after complaints from colleagues and he was arrested after parents of the students contacted authorities.
Yu was charged with child abuse and released from custody, police said.
The teacher publicly apologized to the children and their parents.
"I couldn't control the situation and couldn't stand it," he told Yonhap News. "While watching the hamsters die from teasing, I thought I should teach the children it was wrong to make light of life."
Yu said he would not have eaten the hamster if he had known his actions would be considered child abuse.